A county administrator is back in the budget in Otsego County, for now, at least.

Otsego County Treasurer Allen Ruffles told the county’s Board of Representatives during a special budget workshop Wednesday, Oct. 22, that he has put funding for the position into the 2021 budget at the board’s directive.

“I do see a need for it now more than ever,” Ruffles said. He said his office has been falling behind on its official duties because it has taken on so many other operations. Some of those duties will pass to a centralized county business office, which is also planned for 2021. That office would report to the IT Department in its early stages, but is being designed to be handed off to the administrator’s office, once that position is filled.

Ruffles also said he felt that board members should be making the big decisions on the budget, so he wanted to defer to their desire to fund and fill the position.

The county administrator position was approved by the board in 2019 after a two-year study. However, the coronavirus pandemic and its related economic effect on the county’s budget caused a hiring freeze earlier this year and the position has not been filled yet.

The meeting was held via Zoom and broadcast on the county’s Facebook page.

Ruffles said Wednesday he has budget $36 million in sales tax revenue for 2021, which is slightly higher than he anticipates the final 2020 sales tax revenue to be. The county had budgeted $40 million in sales tax revenue for 2020.

“If sales tax comes back, we’ll be OK,” he said.

Ruffles said the 2021 tentative budget is almost done and it only needs board approval to be sent to the state.

“I could have a budget submitted to the state by next week,” he said. “It just depends on how many changes the board does or does not want to make.”

The board set another workshop hearing for 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28.

Ruffles has to submit the budget to the state by Nov. 1, he said.

The county representatives will hold a public hearing on the budget at the Otsego County Courthouse in Cooperstown at a time and date to be announced later.

The board typically votes on the budget at its December meeting, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2.

Greg Klein, staff writer, can be reached at gklein@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7218.

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